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Recon424

USPA .. Are they worth it ??

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"Are they worth it?" An individual decision. Room for improvement? No doubt. The decision to yank individual and Group memberships because a few board members don't like their business practices wreaks of bully tactics. Losing in Federal court after that stupid decision and agreeing to settle ONLY if the results stay hidden. Ed Scott's asinine comments to the news after the recent Lodi incident. Yanking all those tandem ratings after issuing them and forcing them to get "re-trained" at an additional cost. Yanking Bill's personal membership, the list goes on and on. For an organization that is suppose to be of and for skydivers, it's acting an awfull lot like a corrupt government

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but later in the same post you wrote "... to jump at any DZ that wants the free advertising". I'm sure you know that group membership isn't free, but you did refer to it as such and I simply wanted to point out that the cost is not insignificant for a small (single-turbine) DZ.



Because part of being a GM is 'free' listing on the website and the magazine. Being a GM is sold as being safer, yet the USPA can't actually make that claim because they don't check anything.

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I don't know the details about the safety award



Didn't stop you from defending it. And you said it was not a formal certificate.... That is pretty much exactly what it was.

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All jumps counted toward USPA Expert Wings are required to be conducted in accordance with the BSRs; do you expect the USPA to read through every applicant's logbook



1. USPA does not have 'Expert wings'.
2. The person signing an application is supposed to review the logbook and they are acting as the USPA. For the awards the person signing it has to be a regional or national director. License's also require the signature of a rated USPA member.

Your knowledge of the USPA seems to be missing some very important parts.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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Which award did Dause get from the USPA?



USPA Chesley H. Judy Safety Award
The USPA Chesley H. Judy Safety Award is to recognize any current USPA member who through example, deed, training, or innovation, had promoted safe skydiving in a substantive way.

http://www.dropzone.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?do=post_attachment;postatt_id=121367;t=search_engine
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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kimemerson

I recall that after Sept. 11 all flights (except military) everywhere were grounded. The skies were eerily quiet. While most had to wait two and three weeks before resuming flights, we USPA skydivers were back up in 9 days.


As commercial flights started back up after 9/11 and jumpers were traveling with gear, TSA started tampering with gear, to the extent of using wire or bolt cutters on reserve cables and so on. USPA went to the FAA and TSA and explained that the TSA was going to get jumpers killed, effectively doing the terrorists' job for them. TSA invited USPA, PIA and manufacturers including AirTec (CYPRES guys) to teach them about sport parachutes, AADs, etc. and help come up with guidelines for both jumpers and TSA agents.

Without this kind of advocacy, there would likely have been fatalities before FAA took notice and slapped the TSA around.

Another one is that formation flights with paying passengers are illegal in the US. USPA got FAA to reinterpret that rule such that for the purposes of that rule, jumpers are not passengers.

Does USPA do things we don't like? Sure. Does USPA support the manufacturers more than the jumpers? I can wee why some people see it that way, but I don't think it means USPA cares more about the manufacturers. One example is raising the non-tandem minimum age to 18. They did it strictly for legal risk management. Pressure was applied by the manufacturers, but USPA did it to protect the association from child endangerment lawsuits as well. I really disagree with this BSR. You can get your driver's license and solo an airplane at 16, and die for your country and get your private pilot cert at 17. Yes, there's a waiver procedure, but it's full board and even if both parents are instructors, a waiver is not likely to be granted except in special circumstances (terminally ill last wish kind of thing).

(>o|-<

If you don't believe me, ask me.

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Do you know how the Ches Judy award works? A DZ awards that without any input from USPA at all. If you'd like USPA staff to conduct research into the background and safety practices of every Ches Judy awardee your dues are going to be a lot higher than $55 a year. The point to the Ches Judy program is to allow DZs to locally recognize jumpers. It is not a nationally organized program. It's like local McDonalds franchises giving out employee of the month awards.

Or USPA could scrap the Ches Judy program, at which point you'd bitch that USPA doesn't do enough to promote safety.

- Dan G

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TitaniumLegs

... Yes, there's a waiver procedure, but it's full board and even if both parents are instructors, a waiver is not likely to be granted except in special circumstances (terminally ill last wish kind of thing).



Not exactly.

I know a 16 year old who got his A this year.

DZO's son, waiver was granted.

The RD conducts coach, AFF-I & TI classes at the DZ, so he knows the culture there (and it's a "safe" culture).

I don't know how much hassle the waiver was, but it was granted.
"There are NO situations which do not call for a French Maid outfit." Lucky McSwervy

"~ya don't GET old by being weak & stupid!" - Airtwardo

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DanG

Do you know how the Ches Judy award works? A DZ awards that without any input from USPA at all. If you'd like USPA staff to conduct research into the background and safety practices of every Ches Judy awardee your dues are going to be a lot higher than $55 a year. The point to the Ches Judy program is to allow DZs to locally recognize jumpers. It is not a nationally organized program. It's like local McDonalds franchises giving out employee of the month awards.

Or USPA could scrap the Ches Judy program, at which point you'd bitch that USPA doesn't do enough to promote safety.



I am well aware of how the award works. And there was no long process needed to vet Douse, he had JUST been fined by the FAA almost half a million dollars.

And my dues would not have to go up, raise the GM program fees.

As for getting rid of the award, an award that means nothing is a waste of time.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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I am well aware of how the award works. And there was no long process needed to vet Douse, he had JUST been fined by the FAA almost half a million dollars.

And my dues would not have to go up, raise the GM program fees.

As for getting rid of the award, an award that means nothing is a waste of time.



Employee of the month means nothing either. Do you get mad at that? Just because the Judy was abused one time doesn't mean the award is meaningless. I know people who have been awarded a Judy and it literally brought them to tears. It's a simple, cost free program that local people can use to promote safety culture. Just because Lodi abused it doesn't mean it is bad. Lodi does everything in their power to fuck up the program for everyone else. This is no different.

- Dan G

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Ron

***I don't know the details about the safety award


Didn't stop you from defending it. And you said it was not a formal certificate.... That is pretty much exactly what it was.
I said it's not "a formal certificate proving that the DZ conforms with all safety standards", something that couldn't possibly be issued without a thorough audit. That it is not.
I don't know the details of this particular safety award, or of its presentation to Bill Dause (I think DanG, post # 30, addressed that adequately). But I am familiar with the principle of USPA awards in general.

As you wrote in your next post, this award "is to recognize any current USPA member who ... had promoted safe skydiving in a substantive way." Bill Dause could perfectly well have promoted safety in some other (substantive) way regardless of the condition of his airplanes. Nowhere in the description of the criteria and procedure for this award (SIM section 8–1.3D) does it say that someone who failed to uphold safety standards in some area is ineligible. I'm not saying that Bill Dause was the person best suited to receive the award, but since the recipient is chosen by the local S&TA in consultation with the DZO, it doesn't seem reasonable to me to blame the USPA if someone got the award who you think should not have.

Ron

***All jumps counted toward USPA Expert Wings are required to be conducted in accordance with the BSRs; do you expect the USPA to read through every applicant's logbook


1. USPA does not have 'Expert wings'.
Wrong, see SIM section 8–2B. The n–thousand jump wings are officially called precisely "Expert Wings".
Ron

2. The person signing an application is supposed to review the logbook and they are acting as the USPA. For the awards the person signing it has to be a regional or national director. License's also require the signature of a rated USPA member.


Yes, but the person signing the application still has no way to ensure that the jumps were made in accordance with BSRs, or even that all logged jumps were actually made. And I doubt anyone actually reads through logs of 1000 jumps, let alone any higher multiples of a thousand.

The point I wanted to make is that the wings, like other USPA awards, are not a proof that any criteria have been met, but, as I said, just a nice way to recognise people's experience, and are awarded essentially on an honor system.

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Wrong, see SIM section 8–2B. The n–thousand jump wings are officially called precisely "Expert Wings".



I guess you are right... I only have 7 of them.

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Yes, but the person signing the application still has no way to ensure that the jumps were made in accordance with BSRs,



It is their job to know and they sign saying they have checked all the requirements.

"I certify that I have personally checked the applicant’s logbook(s) and found documentation that the applicant has met all applicable requirements as specified in the Skydiver’s Information Manual, Section 3-1."

http://www.uspa.org/Portals/0/files/Form_LicenseApp.pdf

I have signed a bunch of those as well.

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The point I wanted to make is that the wings, like other USPA awards, are not a proof that any criteria have been met,



Then they are, in essence, worthless.

But the point of this thread is how the USPA is mostly worthless.

People try to say they made the repack cycle longer. That was more the PIA. And you don't have to pay to have the PIA represent you.

People try to say they got us jumping sooner. That was more the AOPA and their 380K members, not the USPA's 30K. The USPA just yelled, "US too!" when the AOPA went to DC.

The USPA is afraid to drop the requirement to mandate that to jump at a GM DZ you have to be a USPA member because they know that without forcing people to join, they would leave. It is nothing but a way to trap you into being a USPA member.

I have dealt with the USPA for 20+ years. I have seen them ignore issues. I have seen them take credit for things they didn't do. I have seen them shun the individual members to bow down to the manufacturers.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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"documentation that the applicant has met all applicable requirements" is not the same as "the fact that the applicant has met all applicable requirements". In the case of wings, just the log entry of the last jump with the jump number is "documentation" that the jumps were made, but, obviously, not proof. I have said before what I think the point of the awards is and is meant to be.

Since I have only been a USPA member for a bit over a year and made now 98 jumps in that time, you obviously have much more experience with the organisation and with the sport, but I defer judgment on the value of the GM program to DZOs, most of whom evidently find it valuable (for the advertising or whatever reason). I've said before that I don't see the requirement of individual membership to jump at GM DZs as a "trap". I think it could very well be conducive to the services the provide to DZs – e.g., the fact that all jumpers are licensed members (or supervised students) could very well help the USPA in some cases when they defend a dropzone before a jury. I think I've pretty much covered the reasons why I am fully willing to pay membership dues for the services they provide; you're welcome to hold a different position.

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Ron

***Do you know how the Ches Judy award works? A DZ awards that without any input from USPA at all. If you'd like USPA staff to conduct research into the background and safety practices of every Ches Judy awardee your dues are going to be a lot higher than $55 a year. The point to the Ches Judy program is to allow DZs to locally recognize jumpers. It is not a nationally organized program. It's like local McDonalds franchises giving out employee of the month awards.

Or USPA could scrap the Ches Judy program, at which point you'd bitch that USPA doesn't do enough to promote safety.



I am well aware of how the award works. And there was no long process needed to vet Douse, he had JUST been fined by the FAA almost half a million dollars.

And my dues would not have to go up, raise the GM program fees.

As for getting rid of the award, an award that means nothing is a waste of time.

Let's get a few of the facts straight.

Dause, not Douse.

The FAA proposed a fine. Nothing has been paid by Mr. Dause except to his attorney.

At the time of his award, he was a member in good standing, and met all the criteria set forth for the award.

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wolfriverjoe


Not exactly.

I know a 16 year old who got his A this year.

DZO's son, waiver was granted.

The RD conducts coach, AFF-I & TI classes at the DZ, so he knows the culture there (and it's a "safe" culture).

I don't know how much hassle the waiver was, but it was granted.


Thanks, that's awesome! I must have missed that one in my sampling of the BoD minutes which is the only place I can find any reference to these. It establishes a precedent.

(>o|-<

If you don't believe me, ask me.

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>Why is membership mandatory?

It's not.

>Why did USPA lower the standards to pass the AFFI course?

Because they were failing too many people, and many of the people they failed re-took the test later and turned into good AFF-I's.

>Why can't members use USPA as a tool to help determine which DZ's to spend
>their skydiving dollar?

They can.

>Why do they promote the myth that a GM DZ is somehow safer than a non GM DZ?

Because the ARE safer in some respects - the same way a TSOed reserve is generally safer than an un-TSOed reserve. Not because there is anything in the TSO certification process that MAKES a reserve good (there isn't.) And not because the government inspects every single reserve that is manufactured (they don't.) But overall, the TSO process gives you safer reserves.

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>Why is membership mandatory?

It's not.



"GROUP MEMBER PLEDGE

Require introductory or regular individual USPA membership of:
1. all licensed U.S. skydivers (a skydiver is considered a student until licensed)
2. non-resident foreign nationals who do not have proof of membership in their national aeroclub"

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>Why did USPA lower the standards to pass the AFFI course?

Because they were failing too many people, and many of the people they failed re-took the test later and turned into good AFF-I's.



So, lowering the standard was a good idea???

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>Why can't members use USPA as a tool to help determine which DZ's to spend
>their skydiving dollar?

They can.



How?

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>Why do they promote the myth that a GM DZ is somehow safer than a non GM DZ?

Because the ARE safer in some respects - the same way a TSOed reserve is generally safer than an un-TSOed reserve. Not because there is anything in the TSO certification process that MAKES a reserve good (there isn't.) And not because the government inspects every single reserve that is manufactured (they don't.) But overall, the TSO process gives you safer reserves.



Safer in some respects.... That is not what I have seen. Sending a check to USPA and signing a pledge has no bearing on the level of safety at a DZ.

And you skipped the best one;

- Why did they create a program that gives the impression they are tracking jump ship maintenance when they actually are not?

Derek V

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>GROUP MEMBER PLEDGE

>Require introductory or regular individual USPA membership of:
>1. all licensed U.S. skydivers (a skydiver is considered a student until licensed)
>2. non-resident foreign nationals who do not have proof of membership in their
>national aeroclub"

I have made hundreds of jumps at DZ's that don't require USPA membership. Surely you have as well.

>So, lowering the standard was a good idea???

So far it doesn't look like it was a bad idea. Students are not dying due to a lack of testing at JCC's.

>Safer in some respects.... That is not what I have seen. Sending a check to USPA
>and signing a pledge has no bearing on the level of safety at a DZ.

I disagree. I have found that USPA DZ's (both US and abroad) are, overall, safer than non-USPA DZ's. It's not night and day, but there is a definite influence.

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Hooknswoop

If USPA is so great;

- Why is membership mandatory?

- Why did USPA lower the standards to pass the AFFI course?

- Why did they create a program that gives the impression they are tracking jump ship mainenance when they actually are not?

- Why can't members use USPA as a tool to help determine which DZ's to spend their skydiving dollar?

- Why do they promote the myth that a GM DZ is somehow safer than a non GM DZ?

Derek V



These are a lot of the reasons why I have no use for the USPA! If it weren't for the DZ's I jump at, essentially forcing me to get it, I wouldn't have it! I've jumped off and on for years without a current membership, and had no issues until some DZM or DZO decides to get anal about it, and forces me to get it, then, I'll log in and renew it! But it seems to be a third party dictating our ability to jump at a chosen DZ!
Other reasons include the recent Tandem fatality at Lodi, and USPA's commentary to the media that because the DZ was not a USPA GM, it was inferior (or whatever it was that they said).

Also, the fact that Cary Q sued USPA when they tried to stand up for what's right during the earlier days of the Skyride scam, (Now known as Rushcube and Spot Reservation) and rather than USPA standing their ground, they coward-ed down to him, and let him and his DZ's back in, and as I understood it, they paid him a pretty fat settlement!

I'm not saying their training and licensing programs are bad, it's just that USPA has always been, and still is, a voluntary membership club, that has no authority to do a ramp check, and cannot tell any certain jumper that he or she can or cannot jump, and they cannot check aircraft for maintenance, or credentials..

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I'm not saying their training and licensing programs are bad, it's just that USPA has always been, and still is, a voluntary membership club, that has no authority to do a ramp check, and cannot tell any certain jumper that he or she can or cannot jump, and they cannot check aircraft for maintenance, or credentials..


That is entirely correct - and is both the strength and the weakness of a purely voluntary organization like the USPA. They cannot ground you; only the DZO can do that, and USPA's only power comes from the degree which the DZO cooperates with them.

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You still skipped the best one;

- Why did they create a program that gives the impression they are tracking jump ship maintenance when they actually are not?

"3. If the drop zone does return the form, will it be verified for accuracy?

http://www.dropzone.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=3695667;search_string=uspa%20inspection%20accuracy;#3695667

USPA will ensure that the form is accurately completed, e.g. that a Twin Otter operator doesn’t indicate that it is on annual/100-hour inspections, that an operator lists the FSDO its program has been filed with, that all “last” and “next” inspection blocks are completed, and the certifying IA or repair station is listed."

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I have made hundreds of jumps at DZ's that don't require USPA membership. Surely you have as well.



I've made some, yes. Why does USPa require GM DZ's to require membership?

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>So, lowering the standard was a good idea???

So far it doesn't look like it was a bad idea. Students are not dying due to a lack of testing at JCC's.



They aren't dying? That is the standard? Setting the bar kinda low, aren't you? Isn't the quality of the Instructor important? How did lowering the quality of the Instructor benefit the membership? Is it a coincidence that the standard was lowered at the same time that Don Yarling presented a seminar at PIA (2001-ish) about the Instructor shortage?

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>Safer in some respects.... That is not what I have seen. Sending a check to USPA
>and signing a pledge has no bearing on the level of safety at a DZ.

I disagree. I have found that USPA DZ's (both US and abroad) are, overall, safer than non-USPA DZ's. It's not night and day, but there is a definite influence.



I have not observed the same.

Derek V

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They aren't dying? That is the standard? Setting the bar kinda low, aren't you? Isn't the quality of the Instructor important? How did lowering the quality of the Instructor benefit the membership? Is it a coincidence that the standard was lowered at the same time that Don Yarling presented a seminar at PIA (2001-ish) about the Instructor shortage?



Part of the old course's issue was it was also very political due to the limited number of instructors. You had a really high chance of passing if you knew the instructor, had been going to boogies with them or had previously served in a military unit. With each course instructor being able to basically set pass/fail criteria and not having a standard to base off of you had student that failed under Instructor A on their first 2 jumps but passed the course with no failures at all under instructor B. If you wanted to become a course instructor the rest of the group basically had to agree to let you join their club so it became a "Good Old Boys" club pretty quickly. I was happy to see the changes that set a clear pass/fail criteria for each jump as well as instructor standardization meetings so that all the instructors are on the same page in terms of is a student passing or failing. I wish that some of the more detailed portions of the evaluations was not dropped but overall it seems that the students graduating today seem to at least all have been judged fairly in their course and were either failed for no clear reason nor passed because "I know them".
Yesterday is history
And tomorrow is a mystery

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But let's be real no one on that board is going to anything to support or even comment for a GM or individual member who contacts them with a violation and they just blow you off . But hey that TI who just hit his one hitter and then grabbed the tandem rig to take up the customer could be comeing to dropzone near you, cause crouch didn't care.



Let me guess, you wanted to get USPA involved in your personal pissing match and they told you they can't pull a rating just because you said you saw a TI using a 1-hitter. If you saw this and you give a shit why didn't you do something, this is very fucking serious but you did nothing and complain that someone else should have?
"I encourage all awesome dangerous behavior." - Jeffro Fincher

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Ron

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Which award did Dause get from the USPA?



USPA Chesley H. Judy Safety Award
The USPA Chesley H. Judy Safety Award is to recognize any current USPA member who through example, deed, training, or innovation, had promoted safe skydiving in a substantive way.

http://www.dropzone.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?do=post_attachment;postatt_id=121367;t=search_engine



BTW, the local S&TA awards these. USPA was not able to refuse this.
"I encourage all awesome dangerous behavior." - Jeffro Fincher

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DJL

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But let's be real no one on that board is going to anything to support or even comment for a GM or individual member who contacts them with a violation and they just blow you off . But hey that TI who just hit his one hitter and then grabbed the tandem rig to take up the customer could be comeing to dropzone near you, cause crouch didn't care.



Let me guess, you wanted to get USPA involved in your personal pissing match and they told you they can't pull a rating just because you said you saw a TI using a 1-hitter. If you saw this and you give a shit why didn't you do something, this is very fucking serious but you did nothing and complain that someone else should have?



It is USPA's job to get involved in exactly that situation through the SnTA or RD. USPA took on the role of policing the TI's and does a horrible job at it because no one really knows what to do at the field level or just blatantly looks the other way.

Twenty-five years ago, when tandems were a small, small fraction of the money pie, USPA listened to the members. They had no choice, we were the sole source of income to USPA. Then, they added the Group Membership program and had to serve two masters with competing ideals of how skydiving should be. Lately, the manufacturers (specifically the tandem manufacturers) have heavily influenced USPA. Now they serve three masters and the members are the ones with the least amount of political pull.

And you pretty much do have to be a member of USPA to jump in this country. I don't think there are ten DZ's that are non-Group members in the US. USPA essentially is a monopoly and certainly acts like one.

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billvon

... I have found that USPA DZ's (both US and abroad) are, overall, safer than non-USPA DZ's. It's not night and day, but there is a definite influence.



I am going to need some examples to believe that, and so is Derek. I can see your reluctance to specify DZ names, but what are some of the safety issue differences that you have seen?

I have seen a wide variety of differences in DZs, but they don't seem to me to follow Group Membership or not.

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Part of the old course's issue was it was also very political due to the limited number of instructors. You had a really high chance of passing if you knew the instructor, had been going to boogies with them or had previously served in a military unit. With each course instructor being able to basically set pass/fail criteria and not having a standard to base off of you had student that failed under Instructor A on their first 2 jumps but passed the course with no failures at all under instructor B. If you wanted to become a course instructor the rest of the group basically had to agree to let you join their club so it became a "Good Old Boys" club pretty quickly. I was happy to see the changes that set a clear pass/fail criteria for each jump as well as instructor standardization meetings so that all the instructors are on the same page in terms of is a student passing or failing. I wish that some of the more detailed portions of the evaluations was not dropped but overall it seems that the students graduating today seem to at least all have been judged fairly in their course and were either failed for no clear reason nor passed because "I know them".



I did not know the course director or any of the evaluators at my course and I passed first try, no problem. 7 or 8 of the 15 candidates in my course passed. None failed because of who they did or did not know. One had failed 2 previous courses. He did not possess the flying skills to be an affi. He later passed the new, lower standard course.

The old course had standards as well. The new course has easier standards.

Derek V

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